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Jazz's Harris M.I.A. after two playoff games against Spurs

Published May 2, 2012 11:08 pm

Jazz notes • Team looking for its rhythm.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

San Antonio • Tony Parker no longer owns center stage as the Jazz's primary concern.

Devin Harris has given him company.

While Al Jefferson shot just 5 of 15 from the floor during Utah's 114-83 blowout loss to the Spurs in Game 2 on Wednesday, Harris was almost invisible. He recorded only five points on 2-of-7 shooting and had more turnovers (two) than assists (one).

Through two playoff contests, Harris is 5 of 16 from the field with seven turnovers and three assists, and he's only averaging 6 points. In addition, the player who helped carry Utah into the postseason has spent Games 1 and 2 sharing nearly equal time with backup Jamaal Tinsley.

"We just can't get to our spots offensively. They have thrown our rhythm a little bit and we just didn't make shots [Wednesday]," Harris said. "We shot a horrible percentage. … With [an opponent] like this, you have to score, as well as defend. And we can't have many games like this."

Still, Harris insisted the one-sided series was nowhere near being over. He helped guide Dallas to the 2006 NBA Finals and is one of Utah's most experienced players. Harris has refused to rise too high or fall too low during the Jazz's up-and-down 2011-12 season, and he's convinced Utah's not done fighting.

The Jazz were 25-8 at EnergySolutions Arena, and Utah has three days to overhaul its approach.

"We look forward to playing on our home floor. We will have the crowd behind us and it's another opportunity for us," Harris said. "But, by all means, they won the first two games and they were supposed to. They're a good team. But the series doesn't start until somebody wins on their opponent's home floor."

Bulldog approval

Jazz guard Gordon Hayward's face lit up as soon as the Atlantic 10 was mentioned before tipoff Wednesday.

Asked about Butler's plans to join the conference for the 2013-14 season, the ex-Bulldog said he's all for it.

Hayward believes everything from recruiting to exposure will be improved by the move, and he's glad to have played a part in his former school's rise.

"It works well for Butler, at least for basketball, in that they get to play better competition and the marketing's going to be bigger. It's good for them," said Hayward, who led the Bulldogs to the 2010 NCAA men's basketball championship game.

No need

Spurs reserve center Tiago Splitter (left wrist bone bruise) was active for Game 2 after initially being listed as doubtful. However, Splitter didn't take the court during San Antonio's 31-point romp.

DeJuan Blair backed up starter Tim Duncan, and San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said before tipoff Splitter would only be used if necessary.

"[His injury] is one of those things. It's a pain thing — it is a ligament. But the MRI was negative, that sort of thing," Popovich said. "They're not worried he'll injure it further. But it's like a sprained thumb. You touch it again, you're right back to where you started."


Ex-Spurs center David Robinson and Duncan joined Popovich near the court before tipoff, as the 2011-12 NBA Coach of the Year award was displayed to fans. The trio teamed for two NBA titles, and Popovich has since won two more with Duncan.




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